HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal


School Advancement Through Visual Communication

by Orna Siegel Issue: Art and Aesthetics

In an era of choice, it is essential to understand that current and prospective parents and donors must feel inspired by the work we do in our schools. One study showed that, “where schools are concerned, [parents believe] that a visual impression can afford an accurate means of assessing the performance of the school. In other words, even if parents rely only on visual cues, they can still make a reliable assessment of the school’s educational quality” (Emily Van Dunk and Anneliese Dickman, School Choice and the Question of Accountability). If parents believe they can rely only on visual impressions to make enrollment decisions, it is vital to be thoughtful and proactive in your visual communication.


 
In admission, development, and marketing and communications, we often work with people who are encountering the school for the first time—people who notice things the rest of us don’t see anymore. At Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, we convened a group of thoughtful professionals to act as the Committee of First Impressions to assess what a visitor to our school might experience. This group included leaders and representatives from various offices and stakeholders to ensure broad input and acceptance of the committee’s eventual recommendations, as well as members from our arts faculty who have expertise in visual design. We further benefitted from the input and advice from two parents who have backgrounds in interior design and architecture. They acted as advisors throughout this process as we examined everything from mundane details such as signage and parking, to larger questions such as, what stories are we telling through the student work on the walls?

 

When our committee met, we walked all the way out to the street to put ourselves in the shoes of a first-time visitor. We began to understand some of the major tensions and challenges in creating a thoughtfully designed space and are still working to address some of these issues.

 

Security v. Welcome: How do we balance a secure school with a welcoming school? Think about the barriers to entry such as security doors and signs that are there to protect students. In what ways can you prioritize security in such a way that still allows visitors to feel welcome?

 

Ownership: No single person or office is in charge of first impressions. At our school, this effort includes our offices of maintenance, facilities, security, marketing and communication, development and enrollment. Additionally, the faculty, the student body, and our parent association all leave their mark on the school. These various groups, each with disparate goals, have to work together to determine what to visually communicate, and then decide how all groups are going to work in concert to implement that vision.

 

Cost: As with all schools, we want to be fiscally conservative in our spending. Look at your school and determine what can be done for free or for very little money. Save the larger expenditures to discuss when you are setting the budget for the following year. We discovered that there were a lot of changes we could implement without spending much, and could then triage more expensive projects for future years as they aligned naturally with other strategic, schoolwide initiatives.

 

Time: We’re all very busy, and the communal areas of our school belong to everyone and to no one. There isn’t any person who makes maintaining communal spaces a priority in their work day. We must develop a community of caretakers in our schools. This culture shift stems from the shared vision of what we’d like to communicate and is then supported by clear protocols around maintaining spaces that allows or assigns time to faculty and administrators to carry out these tasks. How this manifests will depend on school culture, but it might mean a schedule for maintenance and upkeep of public spaces, or time set aside for these purposes in the master schedule as an additional “duty” that faculty and administrators take on.

 

Training and Communal Responsibility: Once the Committee of First Impressions has agreed upon the goals, standards, and protocols, everyone has an opportunity to help with implementation. Faculty and staff must work together to answer questions such as: Who posts work on bulletin boards, and what associated information must be included to make the student work come to life? How will they be maintained? Who is responsible to post and remove parent and student event flyers? How can we keep the hallways clear of student backpacks?

 

You will have to determine how best to address these challenges in a way that fits within your school culture. It is not possible to address every challenge at once, but it is wise to start with determining the messages you’d like to communicate. When you think about your own school community, what is your competitive advantage? It is important to recognize your distinctive features and the benefits of your program in order to clearly make the case to visitors. One school administrator in Philadelphia decided that the school needed to plant flowers out front to appeal to more middleand upper-middle-class parents. “He did not want flowers around the school merely because they created a more positive environment for the students; instead, flowers would make the school appealing to discriminating adults and, hence, better able to compete with private schools for such families” (Maia Bloomfield Cucchiara, Marketing Schools, Marketing Cities).

 

At our school, we wanted to do more to show off the education going on in our classrooms. One approach was to analyze the use of bulletin boards in the school. Over the summer we purchased more bulletin boards (all in the same size, style, and color), and moved several others from underused hallways to the main corridor. With faculty representatives and parent input, we developed guidelines for teachers to use when placing student work on bulletin boards. We wanted to communicate what the students were learning, the essential questions and enduring understandings of the lessons, and why this work was important. We’ve launched this initiative in a few classes this year with our early adopters, and have had amazing feedback. Students are proud to show off their work, and parents not only see their children’s work but have a context to understand it. Now, when we ask donors and prospective parents what they notice during their tours of the school, the number one comment we’ve received is about the student work on the walls and how it stands out from other schools they’ve visited.

 

Start by looking afresh at your facility and trying to discern the stories you are telling. What can visitors learn about the school’s values, educational philosophy, community, and culture when they walk into your space? When school leaders intentionally construct the physical space, they can positively impact enrollment, gifts to development, faculty and staff morale, and the overall culture of your institution.

Go To the Next Article

Developing Jewish Artists

Artists shape the world we live in now, and help us understand worlds that came before. Art allows us to be curious,......

Comments

Have the full enjoy to play the amazing freecell solitaire game online it is the amazing site for the game lovers you create the best score to join the freecell i like to play this very much you play hard and go to the next stage thanks for the visit the site.

up
0 users have voted.

In an era of choice, it is essential to understand that current and prospective parents and donors must feel inspired by the work we do in our schools. juegos friv gratis online y multijugador.

 

up
0 users have voted.

Using new techniques in teaching is very much good. Visual Communication is the best way to teach students nowadays as technology is getting modern day by day and many students also taking help from rush my essay service.

up
0 users have voted.

The PlayStation model was positive with critics praising Sony for understanding and acknowledging the needs of the gamers. free psn codes no human verification

up
0 users have voted.

I’ve read some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to create such a great informative website. Top pakistani brands

up
0 users have voted.

The web site is lovingly serviced and saved as much as date. So it should be, thanks for sharing this with us. gambling

up
0 users have voted.

It's really nice and meanful. it's really cool blog. Linking is very useful thing.you have really helped lots of people who visit blog and provide them usefull information. Bulk CBD

up
0 users have voted.

This is a good post. This post gives truly quality information. I’m definitely going to look into it. Really very useful tips are provided here. Thank you so much. Keep up the good works Canadian virtual receptionist services

up
0 users have voted.

Nice blog and absolutely outstanding. You can do something much better but i still say this perfect.Keep trying for the best. W88

up
0 users have voted.

This is truly an practical and pleasant information for all. Thanks for sharing this to us and more power  شركة نقل عفش بالخبر

up
0 users have voted.

ShrinkWrap provides real-time updates on all the companies you & your firm need to track. Designed as a modern Google Alerts Alternative, ShrinkWrap integrates with Slack, Zapier, and email systems to deliver actionable alerts 

up
0 users have voted.

Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return. Heroin Help

up
0 users have voted.

This is a good post. This post gives truly quality information. I’m definitely going to look into it. Really very useful tips are provided here. Thank you so much. Keep up the good works cryptocurrency

up
0 users have voted.

I come to know all information you have writen absolutely correct. Definitely using new technology is good technique. For every work success now new technology can not be ignored.  Website top pakistani mehndi dresses

up
0 users have voted.

What a great SigmaEssays ratings . Really like your work and services a lot. Immediately need an experienced writer to write my essay.

up
0 users have voted.

Art and Aesthetics

The study and practice of the arts can serve as a powerful vehicle for learning. This issue presents ways that the arts can deepen intellectual inquiry as well as sparking creativity, engage students' hearts and minds in science, literature, and all aspects of Jewish studies, expose learners to provocative, contemporary issues of culture and politics, and draw meaningful connections across the curriculum and among people.

 

Click here to download the PDF and printer friendly version of this issue of HaYidion.